Bedford boys celebrate becoming Royal Navy Officers

Three Cadets from Bedford have celebrated their formal commissioning as Royal Navy Officers on parade at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC).

Midshipmen Simon Williams, Nathan Merrison-Fletcher and Jacob Cuddeford were among 120 Officer Cadets who took part in the parade.

To earn their places on the parade ground, the three Midshipmen completed an intensive 30 week training course, which was split into three distinct 10 week phases.  While the course predominately takes place at the world renowned College in Dartmouth, the training includes a three week ship acquaint when the three men were assigned to HMS Bulwark operating in UK waters.

Simon, 25, attended Bedford Modern School. He graduated from Loughborough University in 2012 with a degree in Architectural Engineering and went on to work as a design engineer on the Crossrail Project.

He said: “I was inspired to join the Royal Navy from stories my grandfather, an ex-Royal Navy pilot told. I also wanted to be proud of myself and escape my previous life confined to an office.

“Before joining, I believed I had a high level of standard and patience for ironing. I quickly realised I was totally wrong.

“Equally I thought I had resilience to the cold, but being shoulder deep in water in December proved I wasn’t. The training has strengthened me physically and mentally, but also taught me a great deal.”

Jacob is a former Mark Rutherford Upper School pupil and graduated from the University of Leicester in 2013 with a degree in general engineering. Since then he has been working as an IT operations analyst.

The 25-year-old said: “Training at Dartmouth has been immensely challenging and rewarding. At times it seemed like it would never end, however I’m now delighted to be passing out and looking forward to contributing to the incredible work that the Royal Navy does around the world.”

Nathan’s first taste of the Service came as a member of the Bedford Sea Cadet Unit. The 20-year-old attended Harlington Upper School.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to be in the military. I had a good time and learned many skills in the Sea Cadets and because of the affiliation the organisation has with the Royal Navy, I realised it was the best Service for all the sports and adventurous training I love.

“Now, having overcome major struggles through the snow on Dartmoor for a week, the physical training from the Royal Marines PT staff and various leadership assessments, I have created some of the best and worst memories I will have in my life. I have enjoyed my time here at BRNC and am looking forward to starting my career as a warfare officer in the Fleet.”

With the first phase of their training complete Simon and Jacob will transfer to HMS Nelson in Hampshire for their professional training, while Nathan will remain at BRNC to begin his professional course.

They were watched at the parade by their families, friends and distinguished guests, including Vice Admiral Ian Corder, UK Military Representative to NATO and the European Union, who was the VIP inspecting officer.